posted: May 19, 2021

published in Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Millions of people remember the white sailor cap that a man marooned on a tropical island wore while he and his fellow castaways appeared on television every week. But what everyone may not know is that the late Bob Denver of “Gilligan’s Island” fame also lived in Mercer County for 15 years.

Now, in an exceptional idea, the Princeton Renaissance Theater on Mercer Street is collaborating with the Denver Foundation on plans for a new Bob Denver Museum and satellite station for Little Buddy Radio at the Renaissance Theater. And best yet, organizers of the effort are hoping to have the museum opened this year.

“For the past 10 or 12 years, people in this area have approached me about the possibility of a Bob Denver Museum,” Dreama Denver, who was married to Bob Denver for 30 years before he passed away in 2005, told the Daily Telegraph. “He had a face that was known all over the world. The movers and shakers here felt there should be a way to honor the fact that Bob loved being an adopted West Virginian.”

Dreama Denver grew up in Bluefield and she and Bob moved to Princeton in 1990. 

She says the iconic sailor hat and shirt Bob Denver wore on screen will be among the museum’s exhibits. Dreama Denver says she has been going through mementoes to find just the right items to display at the new downtown museum in Princeton.

“I’m having so much fun going through memorabilia, the things. I have to see what we could have in the museum,” she said. “It’s really fun. I’m running across things I’ve forgotten about. I’m enjoying it. I’m doing it little by little. I’m not diving in. I’m wading in.”

There will also be pieces from other characters Bob Denver played on display at the museum, including items from his breakout role on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” Another component of the museum will be the Gilligan’s Gift Gallery, where visitors will also be able to purchase mementos.

Aside from playing Gilligan and appearing in other television shows such as “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat,” Bob Denver was also a movie actor, having appeared in movies such as “Have You Ever Heard the One About the Traveling Sales Lady?” with the late actress Phyllis Diller and one called “The Sweet Ride” with actress Jacqueline Bisset.

The museum will be located on the first floor of the theater with its own entrance from Mercer Street. The plan for this space includes creating a Little Buddy Radio satellite station in the rear of the museum. It will be surrounded by plexiglass so that visitors can watch the live broadcast. Denver plans for the satellite station to offer educational opportunities to local college students who are studying radio broadcasting.

The museum is a great idea.

We applaud everyone involved with this outstanding plan, including the Denver Foundation and the Princeton Renaissance committee. Having a Bob Denver Museum and satellite Little Buddy Radio center inside of the Renaissance Theater will be a tremendous draw for downtown Princeton.

We look forward to the opening of this welcomed facility.